No Need for Bricks: 5 Amazing Homes Made from Mother Nature

When we think of stunning homes, we think of bricks, glass, and some of the world’s most beautiful buildings incorporate its natural surrounds with its design plans.  If ever in your lifetime you have the chance to go to Turkey, it is highly recommended that you head to Cappadocia.  This beautiful region consists of buildings that are built into rocks.  Its aesthetics are dreamlike and very out of this world.  Closely resembling Suess-like animation, even photographs of Cappadocia will leave you breathless.

Cappadocia is a geological anomalies and considered a world heritage site.  For thousands of years, residents in this region have built their homes within the rocks.  Even today, homes and hotels are nestled within the caves.  Despite its rustic look, as time progressed, residential areas have been modernized.  The homes in Cappadocia are only beautiful but also have the amenities that you would find anywhere.  Some of these caves are still inhabited.

StoneHouse-2

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jsome1/392996487/in/photostream/

Photo credit:  jsome1 at flickr

If you drove past this tiny house in Fafe, Portugal, you may feel like knocking at the door and giving your greetings to Fred and Wilma.  Eerily reminiscent of the Flintstone house, this home, which has been dubbed “House of Stone” does have people living there.  The house was built in 1974 and has a fireplace and a pool!  The design is eco-friendly and takes advantage of all of the natural resources in the area.  Wind turbines help to provide energy to the home.  Inside you will find stairs and railings made of logs.  Unfortunately, there is no electricity in the house.  The owners use candles for lighting.  There is enough window space to capture the sun during the day, and the wooden stove manages to heat the house when it is cold.  This home was not made from one single rock.  Giant boulders surround the house.  The facade was made to blend in with the stone.

 

CobHome

http://www.thiscobhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/cob-home-living-roof.jpg

Foto Credit:  This Cob House

Another interesting type of house that is efficient and eco-friendly is a cob house.  No, they aren’t made from corn!  Cob houses consist of sand, dirt, clay and straw.  It is the ultimate organic house.  They are typically made from local materials too!  Cob homes are curvy and inviting.  Distinct features of a cob house are its round doors and walls.  On the inside, furniture can be made as built ins.  Many owners choose to do this for shelving and storage purposes.  Anyone can build a cob house.  The three hardest things are finding enough time, and people to build, your house and also making sure that you adhere to building codes within your area.  Cob houses are more popular in warmer climate regions because the lack of insulation is not an issue in these places.

 

There are many benefits of having a cob house.  Once it dries, the house is thick and sturdy.  You can weatherproof your cob house with plaster.  Even if the elements do get to it, your house will still be aesthetically charming.    Because of its density and makeup, you are able to keep heat longer in these types of homes.  Another advantage of having a cob house is that if for some reason it is damaged, it can easily be repaired for a fraction of the cost of a repair on a conventional home.  If it is totaled, there wouldn’t be any wreckage material.  Because they  are made of earth, keeping the rubbish from a demolished cob house would be equal to putting dirt and clay and grass on the ground.  The average cost of a cob house, from start to finish (including manpower, materials, and construction) is roughly 8,000 USD.

 

Photo courtesy of Patrick Dougherty at Tumbler  

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/patrick-dougherty

 

Growing up, everyone wanted a tree-house.  Architect and master designer, Patrick Dougherty made every child’s dream a reality.  He put his own twist on treehouses, as he has made solid, livable structures out of living trees!  These trees are also majestic works of art, as Dougherty manipulates the branches in order to make sculptures.

Because they are made from living trees, these structures can and have decomposed, which makes residing in them for long periods of time virtually impossible.  However, these living buildings can serve as the backdrop to a wedding or photography session.

These beautiful structures are proof that you can have art, functional housing, and be environmentally aware of how your building or home might affect the land around you.  It takes much creativity and focus in order to come up with designs that use the natural slopes of hills, and the flexibility of branches.  Finding natural buildings are rare.

When you do see one, it brings you hope that man can exist comfortably while still maintaining its natural habitat.  The question is whether or not we will be able to see more of these in the future as living spaces in places that we thought would be otherwise uninhabitable.  Natural houses don’t take away from nature.  You still feel as if you are encapsulated in wilderness despite there being houses around (or underneath) you.  With cases like Cappadocia, where these types of houses have existed for hundreds of years, you wonder how it was possible for a civilization to come up with such intricately detailed plans and still seem sustainable and respectful towards the earth.  If current architects used the same strategies and techniques to found in the examples, we could also solve problems like overcrowding and homelessness.

The beauty lies in the fact that these buildings are based off of simple things—rock, earth, trees, in its barest state.  For some, it can be assumed, that they would not have noticed it in its raw form.  These architects and builders have managed to bring out the beauty in nature in jaw dropping ways.   Natural buildings are the marriage of sustainability and awareness, art, and security hidden away between two pieces of bedrock. Going back to nature with sustainable building is true progress.

 

 

References

 

Ancient Origins,. (2014). The incredible rock houses and underground cities of Cappadocia. Retrieved 11 December 2014, from http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-europe/incredible-rock-houses-and-underground-cities-cappadocia-001394

Green Building Elements,. (2008). Natural Building 101: Building a Cob House – Green Building Elements. Retrieved 11 December 2014, from http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/09/12/natural-building-101-building-an-eco-friendly-cob-house/

Janzen, M. (2009). Thinking Outside the Rocks. Tiny House Design. Retrieved 11 December 2014, from http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/thinking-outside-the-rocks/

Mother Earth News,. (2014). Cob Building Basics: DIY House of Earth and Straw. Retrieved 11 December 2014, from http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/cob-building-basics-zm0z13onzrob.aspx?PageId=2#ArticleContent

Stickwork.net,. (2014). Featured | Patrick Dougherty. Retrieved 11 December 2014, from http://www.stickwork.net/featured/

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